Encouraged by the Light

Debut author Edwards describes a near-death experience following a traffic accident, asserting that the Bible confirms what he saw on the other side.
In 1966, Edwards, then a teenager in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was pinned under a car wreck. While in the hospital in critical condition, he had what he now claims to be a near-death experience. He writes that recovering from a traumatic brain injury and sorting out his memories has been a long process, one with lingering neurological aftereffects, such as narcolepsy and a tendency to wander off topic (although the latter never impairs his prose). However, Edwards insists upon the authenticity of his out-of-body testimony. Despite the fact that his eyes were grotesquely swollen shut and that his hospital room afforded no view of the corridor, he claims that he still clearly “saw” events on the ward. Moreover, he says that his consciousness traveled to a walled “City of Light,” a description not unlike those of the New Jerusalem in the books of Ezekiel and Revelation. He says that there, he watched his life play out on a curious array of monitors (stacked like Pez candy, he adds) as part of a divine evaluation or judgment. However, for a man who uses so many Scripture citations to buttress his case, he’s not a stereotypical Gospel witness. For example, he writes that he’s disappointed that some Christian conservatives refute NDEs on the grounds that non-Christians have reported them as well. Edwards’ gently reasoned response is that non-Christians may get to see heaven, but it doesn’t mean they’re able to stay there. The author avidly reads scientific journals and has widely studied the subject of NDEs; he even provides an answer for nonbelievers who say they saw nothing but blackness during clinical death. Overall, his arguments provide inspirational and intellectual manna for religious and secular readers, although the faithful will likely be more acclimated to the frequent Bible verses.
Evangelical testimony of life after death told in a calm, thoughtful and rational voice.

Pub Date: June 19, 2011

ISBN: 978-1439246306

Page Count: 216

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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Honest messages from one of America's best known women.


A compilation of advice from the Queen of All Media.

After writing a column for 14 years titled “What I Know For Sure” for O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Winfrey brings together the highlights into one gift-ready collection. Grouped into themes like Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity and Power, each short essay is the distilled thought of a woman who has taken the time to contemplate her life’s journey thus far. Whether she is discussing traveling across the country with her good friend, Gayle, the life she shares with her dogs or building a fire in the fireplace, Winfrey takes each moment and finds the good in it, takes pride in having lived it and embraces the message she’s received from that particular time. Through her actions and her words, she shows readers how she's turned potentially negative moments into life-enhancing experiences, how she's found bliss in simple pleasures like a perfectly ripe peach, and how she's overcome social anxiety to become part of a bigger community. She discusses the yo-yo dieting, exercise and calorie counting she endured for almost two decades as she tried to modify her physical body into something it was not meant to be, and how one day she decided she needed to be grateful for each and every body part: "This is the body you've been given—love what you've got." Since all of the sections are brief and many of the essays are only a couple paragraphs long—and many members of the target audience will have already read them in the magazine—they are best digested in short segments in order to absorb Winfrey's positive and joyful but repetitive message. The book also features a new introduction by the author.

Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250054050

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flatiron View Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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